The biting attacks on Buhari were immediately dismissed by the CPC which threw its weight behind its 2011 presidential candidate. The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Engr. Rotimi Fashakin said yesterday that General Buhari was only reiterating what many Nigerians had been saying for long.
“They are merely talking balderdash; what General Buhari has said is what many Nigerians have expressed . Remember Professor Wole Soyinka had said election rigging is violence against people and that they have the right to confront violence with greater violence”.
Fashakin who alleged that the PDP connived with INEC to rig the 2011 general election and opposition parties had said it would not be business as usual in 2015, stressed, “PDP colluded with Professor Atahiru Jega INEC to foist Jonathan on us. That’s why we are battling with this clueless government. There must be sanctity of votes of Nigerian electorate.
“What Buhari was trying to say is that, it would not be business as usual. So, only the guilty should be afraid of retribution. It is certain that retribution is coming. So, why should PDP be afraid”?
The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF responding through its national publicity secretary, Anthony A.Z. Sani said Buhari’s comment was nothing new as he noted that many eminent Nigerians including former President Olusegun Obasanjo had also inferred as such.
“Buhari has not said anything that has not been said before. What people are saying is that he should not have said it because he has mass appeal among the people.”
The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, on its part also backed Buhari saying the call from the former Head of State was for the enthronement of a transparent election process.
CNPP’s Publicity Secretary, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, said yesterday:
“The problem on ground now is due to the fact that many of those holding elective positions were not elected by the people, in actual fact. Therefore they don’t have any sense of accountability and responsibility towards the people.”
There were also mixed reactions to the statement from notable stakeholders yesterday:
It’s an explosive statement— Sagay
Constitutional lawyer, Professor Itse Sagay said “It was a very explosive statement. I agree that we have had enough of election rigging. All other countries have left us behind, countries like Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Every other country has been able to have free and fair elections except Nigeria; it is time for us to wake up and eliminate that disease from our democracy. So, I agree with him that we must have free and fair elections, but not on the issue of bloodshed because that is a bit frightening and a bit extreme. But I think those who have been rigging and getting away with it, should also have a rethink that it is time for peoples’ vote to count. Nigeria has been left behind.”
That is Buhari’s opinion—Falae
One time presidential candidate of the All Nigeria’s People Party, ANPP, Chief Olu Falae said “that is his own opinion. I am not sure whether 2015 is not too far away, given all the multitude of problems that we have. We can only pray that we survive till 2015. I am not even talking about elections; I am talking about the survival of this country because I think that is the paramount issue now.”
It’s a serious statement— Ayo Adebanjo
Former NADECO chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo said: “It is a very serious statement he made but it is also very difficult to fault him. One would not want any violence but for the sake of the country, should there be no free and fair elections, I agree with that statement. I cannot rule it out because people are tensed up. For the elections to be conducted now and not reflecting the wishes of the people, heaven help us.”
It’s a reckless statement— Fasoranti
On his part, National leader of Pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti lampooned Buhari and described the retired general’s remarks as a ”reckless statement.” Fasoranti said “that is a very reckless statement coming from an elder statesman.”
His statement is a warning to Nigerians— Fasehun
Founder of the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, Dr Fredrick Fasehun said Buhari’s remark remains a warning signal.
According to him, “I think he must have spoken too early but Nigerians desire to have a free, fair and credible election come 2015. The election of 1993, which was free and fair but was annulled, has left Nigeria bruised for some time. Mr Buhari is giving that warning, he is acting as an elder statesman and former Head of State who feels that unfair elections may be a stumbling block and progress in 2015. It is a warning which is good for the country. He is not threatening.